PCOS is a hormonal disorder that is very common today, especially for a woman who reaches her child-bearing age – making it strenuous to conceive. PCOS causes many issues like sudden weight gain, growth of extra facial hair, hair loss, and skin problems. When neglected, it leads to diabetes and heart diseases. Having a special PCOS diet plan not only relieves symptoms, it reduces the risk of PCOS complications.
Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS leads to an extreme imbalance in the hormones. One of the most necessary things for polycystic ovary syndrome treatment is to exercise and change the way you eat. For starters, this will begin to subside PCOS symptoms as diet and lifestyle changes are known to be effective in managing PCOS.
What you should know about PCOS diet
A major aspect of dealing with PCOS is to bring down insulin levels to normal range. Another aspect of an ideal PCOS diet is to restrict the consumption of androgen-increasing diet. By bringing the insulin levels down, one can reduce the symptoms of PCOS considerably.
The following steps will help you to understand PCOS diet and incorporate it gradually in your lifestyle.
Getting started with a PCOS diet plan
Throw away the junk food
Junk food is the main culprit in elevating PCOS, making the body unable to use insulin while increasing the risk of diabetes. Start by throwing away junk from your pantry, cupboards or anywhere your cravings lay.
What exactly is junk food that one should get rid of in PCOS?
- Fried chips
- Bakery items
- Rice cakes
- Ready-made meals
- Frozen packaged meals
- Processed meats
Prepare your grocery list for PCOS-friendly foods
Although buying fresh foods every day will be a little heavy on your pocket, having a list of PCOS-friendly foods will save you from spending on junk foods that are harmful. For a proper PCOS diet stock up on organic foods, lean meat, plant-based protein with less trans-fat.
PCOS diet meals
It helps to save more of your time in organizing your meals and planning your PCOS meal schedule in advance. Preparing a healthy and nutritious meal will help to keep your PCOS under control.
Prepare meals that are :
- Gluten free
- Dairy free
- Low in saturated fats
- Low GI along with low glycemic load
- Free of refined sugars and foods
- Balanced proteins and carbs
Incorporating the above list in your PCOS diet will help you in managing your testosterone levels and insulin better.
It is often easy to fall back while trying out new diet recipes or a new fitness plan in your daily schedule, but finding someone to support you in achieving your goals is invaluable. Find a friend or relative, who is struggling with PCOS and make it easier for the two of you to be on a healthier track.
Foods to eat and avoid in PCOS
Before you begin your PCOS diet plan, it is better to understand what role different foods have in subsiding or elevating the signs of PCOS. Once you have clarity about what foods to eat or avoid in PCOS, you can create your own meal plans for your PCOS diet.
Green leafy vegetables
Fresh green veggies help with weight loss in any diet. Vegetables rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamins – B, C, E and K, are very helpful in PCOS as these nutrients help in improving metabolism, the function of thyroid, fertility, and better hormone balance.
All colorful vegetables like bell peppers, pumpkin, cabbage, tomatoes, broccoli, etc. are full of antioxidants that help to reduce the oxidative stress in PCOS.
Maintaining a healthy body weight while dealing with signs of PCOS is necessary. Stock up on lean meat as protein spikes your metabolism that helps to control your weight easily.
Include healthy fats in your PCOS diet as it provides essential fatty acids. Stock up on olive oil, seeds, nuts, avocado, oily fish – as these foods have a lot of vitamin B and D.
Fruits have huge amounts of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and poly-nutrients. Pick fruits with low glycemic index like limes, kiwi, strawberries, guava, cantaloupe, pear, watermelons, oranges, apricots and apples. Eating fruits in moderation is good for keeping your PCOS under control.
High glycemic index foods
Foods such as white rice, pasta, and starchy veggies – these foods cause sudden spikes in your blood sugar causing a release of insulin and affecting ovulation.
Dairy products increase insulin and androgen levels because of a certain protein that aggravates symptoms of PCOS like acne.
Avoid all kinds of foods with saturated fats, unhealthy fats, hydrogenated fats, and trans-fats as they lead to higher cholesterol levels.
Processed foods contain chemicals, added flavors, preservatives, and unhealthy fats that lead to weight gain and higher cholesterol levels. This causes an increase in PCOS symptoms.
Caffeine affects fertility in women causing irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation issues because of estradiol present in caffeine.
Consumption of alcohol develops a higher risk of having PCOS as it is unhealthy for the liver.
PCOS Diet tips
- Reduce salt intake
- Eat on time at regular intervals
- Increase fiber intake
- Exercise and stay active
- Drink lots of water
- Get enough sleep
- Maintain your calorie intake and do not exceed the given limit according to your plan
- Don’t overlook any gaps in your menstrual cycle. Consult the endocrinologist and gynecologist immediately.